The Bhagavata Purana

by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 780,972 words | ISBN-10: 8120838203 | ISBN-13: 9788120838208

This page describes Aniruddha s Marriage: Rukmi Slain which is chapter 61 of the English translation of the Bhagavata Purana, one of the eighteen major puranas containing roughly 18,000 metrical verses. Topics include ancient Indian history, religion, philosophy, geography, mythology, etc. The text has been interpreted by various schools of philosophy. This is the sixty-first chapter of the Tenth Skandha of the Bhagavatapurana.

Chapter 61 - Aniruddha s Marriage: Rukmī Slain

Śrī Śuka said:

1. Each of the above-mentioned queens of Kṛṣṇa bore to him ten sons respectively who were in no way inferior to their father in qualities of head-and-heart.

2. Observing that Lord Kṛṣṇa did not move out of their mansion but was always at home, every one of the princesses, being ignorant of his divine nature, considered herself to be his most beloved wife.

3. Those damsels were enchanted with his countenance charming like a blooming lotus, (knee-) long arms, large beautiful eyes, glances expressive of winning affectionate smiles and sweet conversation, but reciprocally with all the charms at their command, they could not conquer and fascinate the heart of the Perfect One.

4. On the contrary, those sixteen thousand wives of Kṛṣṇa failed to agitate his mind with those shafts of the god of love, and other enticements conveying erotic messages by the movement of their eye-brows charming with the sentiment expressed by their smiles and stealthy side-glances.

[Padaratnāvalī’s Text adds:]

4(A). Even though their Lord occupied a high sear in their personal mansion, out of bashfulness due to their new union in marriage, those chaste and virtuous damsels cast from behind the pillars their side-glances through eyes full of love at their highly beloved consort, the Lord of saintly people, the sole asylum of the goddess of wealth.

4(B). They laughed with joy when their eyes were closed from behind with his hands by their beloved while he was enjoying himself in their mansions. But being afraid of disturbing his passion of love for them, they waited only adjusting garments on their person though it may not be pleasant to him.

5.[1] Having obtained the consort of the Goddess of Wealth and beauty (Lakṣmī) as their own consort, the ways of approaching whom were incomprehensible even to god Brahmā and others those damsels enjoyed with ever-in creasing joy and love his affectionate smiles, side-glances with a longing for union felt as ever new.

6. Although hundreds of maid-servants were in their service, each of them personally rendered service to the Lord by rising up, advancing to receive him, offering him a seat and excellent articles of worship, washing his feet, presenting him betel-leaves, removing his fatigue and refreshing him by fanning, application of sandal-paste and garlands of flowers and by combing his hair, arranging his bed, bath and catering to him refreshments.

7. Out of those (sixteen thousand, one hundred and eight) queens of Kṛṣṇa who bore him ten sons each, eight were previously mentioned as principal queens. I shall relate to you about pradyumna and other sons (of these eight queens).

8-9. Pradyumna being the eldest, Cārudeṣṇa, Sudeṣṇa, the chivalrous Cārudeha, Sucāru, Cārugupta, Bhadracāru and his younger brother Cārucandra, Vicāru, Cāru as the tenth—these sons were born of Rukmiṇī. They were in no respect inferior to their father Hari.

10-12. Bhānu, Subhānu, Svarbhānu, Prabhānu, Bhānumān, Candrabhānu, Bṛhadbhānu, and the eighth Atibhānu, Śrībhānu, Pratibhānu—these were the ten sons by Satyabhāmā. Sāmba, Sumitra, Purujit, Śatajit, Sahasrajit, Vijaya, Citraketu, Vasumān. Dravid, Kratu—these were the ten sons of Jāmbavatī. Sāmba and these others were all favourites of their Father.

13. Vīra (v.l. Bhānu), Candra, Aśvasena, Citragu, Vegavān Vṛṣa, Āma, Śaṅku. Vasu, Śrīmān, Kunti were the sons of Nagnajitī.

14. Śruta, Kavi, Vṛṣa, Vīra, Subāhu, Bhadra, Ekala, Śānti, Darśa, Pūrṇamāsa, Avara and Somaka were the ten sons of Kālindī.

15. Praghoṣa (v.l. Prajaṅgha), Gātravān, Siṃha, Bala, Prabala, Ūrdhvaga, Mahāśakti, Sahas, Ojas and Aparājita were the sons of Mādrī (Lakṣmaṇā).

16. Vṛka, Harṣa, Anila, Gṛdhra, Vardhana and Annāda, as also Mahāṃśa, Pavana, Vahni and Kṣudhi were the sons of Mitravindā.

17. Saṅgrāmajit, Bṛhatsena, Śūra, Praharaṇa, Arijit, Jaya, Subhadra, Vāma, Āyus and Satyaka were the sons of Bhadrā.[2]

18-19. Dīptimān, Tāmratapta and others were born to Hari by Rohiṇī.[3] (She was the chief of the group of sixteen thousand and one hundred queens). A mighty son Aniruddha was born of Pradyumna by Rukmavatī the Princess of Rukmī in the city of Bhojakaṭa (while Pradyumna was there).

As the mothers of Kṛṣṇa’s sons were sixteen thousand in number, the sons and grandsons of those sons numbered billions.

King Parīkṣit enquired:

20. Oh learned sage! How is it that Rukmī who was vanquished in combat by Kṛṣṇa and was eagerly waiting for an opportunity to avenge, gave his daughter in marriage to his enemy’s son? Be pleased to narrate to me how the matrimonial alliance came about between these two deadly enemies.

21. For the yogins can accurately and distinctly see the future, the past and the present as well as what is beyond the ken of senses, which is very remote and screened off (by something else).

Śrī Śuka narrated:

22. Being the actual embodiment of Anaṅga (the god of Love), he (Pradyumna) was selected by Rukmavatī in her svayaṃvara (self-election by the bride-type of marriage). Completely defeating the assembled kings single-handedly in his chariot, he carried her away.

23. Although Rukmī, humiliated by Kṛṣṇa, was cherishing enmity against him (but) with a view to please his sister Rukmiṇī, he offered his daughter in marriage to his nephew.

[Here Padaratnāvalī’s Text adds:]

23.1. Rukmī who was humiliated by Kṛṣṇa (by deforming him after defeat) continued to (brood over and) nurse the enmity. By his penance, he propitiated god Śiva abiding on mount Śrī Śaila.

23.2-3. Rudra, the most prominent among boon-conferring gods, was propitiated by Rukmī by performance of penance. He asked Rukmī to seek a boon. He sought for a strong unbreakable bow which will be invincible for hosts of enemies and unsunderable even to gods. “So be it”, said the god Śiva and gave him the bow. But god Śaṅkara cautioned him thus:

23.4. “When you confront god Viṣṇu, this bow will desert you and will return to me. Not otherwise.”

23.5. Telling him thus, god Śiva gave him the bow and disappeared. Having secured the boon, the king returned to his capital Bhojakaṭa.

23.6. With the help of the bow, Rukmī brought under his control all kings noted for their prowess in battle. Kṛṣṇa was the only exception.

23.7. With greed of retaining the possession of the bow, Rukmī did not even think of opposing Vāsudeva. Nor did he think of entering into faithful alliance with him, O great king.

23.8. Although he still cherished the enmity, he remembered the words of god Śiva. Pradyumna who was the veritable Manmatha (the god of Love) incarnate, was chosen by Rukmavatī i n the Svayaṃvara.

23.9. Having vanquished in the battle, all the kings assembled there (for the svayaṃvara) single-handedly in his chariot, he carried her away. The great warrior Aniruddha was born of Rukmavatī.

23.10. Being directed by (Uṣā) Bāṇa’s daughter, Citralekhā kidnapped him; and on account of him, the thousand-armed Bāṇa became a two-armed one.

24. It is reported that the mighty son of Kṛtavarmā married Cārumatī, the large (beautiful) eyed daughter of Rukmiṇī.

25. Though still nursing deep hostility to Kṛṣṇa and though aware of the violation of the restrictions of dharma-śāstra[4] in such a matrimonial alliance, Rukmī, with the desire of pleasing his sister to whom he was bound by the ties of affection, gave his grand-daughter Rocanā to Hari’s grandson (Rukmī’s daughter’s son).

26. For the marriage ceremony, Rukmiṇī, Balarāma, Kṛṣṇa, Sāmba, Pradyumna and others went to the city of Bhojakaṭa.

27. When the marriage ceremony was over, some haughty kings like Dantavakra of Kaliṅga and others urged Rukmī, “Completely vanquish Balarāma in the play of dice”.

28. Though ignorant of the game of dice, Balarāma is strongly addicted to it, O king.” Thus advised, Rukmī invited Balarāma to play dice and played at dice.

29. In that game, Balarāma consecutively staked wagers of one hundred, one thousand, ten thousand (coins of gold) and Rukmī won them all. At that time the king of Kaliṅga laughed loudly at Balarāma, displaying his teeth—(an insult) with which Balarāma, the wielḍer of the plough, could not put up.

30. Then Ṛukmī staked one lakh (coins) as a bet which Balarāma now won. But resorting to deceit, Rukmī asserted, “I am the winner”.

31. Agitated with anger like the swelling ocean under the full moon, the glorious Balarāma whose eyes were naturally reddish, became fiery with extreme rage and he staked a wager of ten crores (of gold coins).

32. As per rules of that game, Balarāma rightly won that bet. But Rukmī resorted to false pretext and said, “I have won the bet. Let the umpires declare their decision”.

32-A. Padaratnāvalī’s Text:

“So be it” said Dantavakra of Kaliṅga showing his teeth (grinning) at Balarāma. Balarāma boiled with rage but (controlled himself and) observed silence.

33. Thereupon a voice from the heaven declared. “As per rules of the game, the wager is properly won by Balarāma. What Rukmī says is false.”

34. Ignoring the declaration from the heaven, Rukmī, being instigated by wicked kings and impelled so by his (impending) death, laughed loudly at Saṅkarṣaṇa (Balarāma) and spoke to him.

35. “You are after-all cowherds ranging over the forests and not experts at the play of dice. Kings like us play with dice and with arrows (i.e. fight) and not persons (cowherds) like you.”

36. When thus humiliated by Ṛukmī and ridiculed by kings, Balarāma flew in rage and taking up an iron bar[5], struck Rukmī down in the assembly of kings.

37. He vehemently caught hold of the (flying) king of Kaliṅga on the tenth pace and angrily knocked out his teeth exhibiting which he laughed at him.

38. Other kings with their arms, thighs and heads broken, chopped off and bathed in blood when struck with the iron bar by Balarāma, fled away in terror.

39. When His brother-in-law Ṛukmī was slain, Hari being afraid of alienating the relation with his queen Rukmiṇī and brother Balarāma, expressed no remark for or against the incident.

40. Seating Anirudḍha along with Suryā in an excellent chariot, Balarāma and others from the Dāśārha clan of whom Lord Kṛṣṇa was the mainstay, and who had accomplished all their objects, left Bhojakaṭa and journeyed to Dvārakā (Kuśasthalī).

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

Bhāvāratha Dīpikā notes that verses 5 & 6 are extremely beautiful and they are an echo of those in a previous chapter (Supra 59. 44 & 45 with some modification.

[2]:

It appears a slip on the part of Bhāvāratha Dīpikā to equate her with Śaibyā-VT.

[3]:

Obviously a similarity of name in the women of the same family.

[4]:

Śrīdhara notes the popular objection that one should not dine with the enemy (dviṣad annaṃ na bhoktavyam) and not the real object of dharma- śāstra which discourages in-breeding by prohibiting cross-cousin marriages. Subodhinī quotes:

mātā pitāmahī yasya tathaiva prapitāmahī /
tisra eka-kule jātāḥ so'bhiśasto nigadyate //

[5]:

v.l. with the dice-board—Padaratnāvalī

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